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October 02, 2008 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-10-02

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All Things Jewish

Wayne State launches its first Jewish studies program.

Sara Horowitz, director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at York University in

Toronto and president of the Association for Jewish Studies, chats with Marc
Kruman, chair of WSU's Department of History and WSU Provost Nancy Barrett.

Jessica Archer
Special to the Jewish News


tudents at Wayne State
University now have an oppor-
tunity to explore thousands
of years of Jewish thought, history and
culture through a new minor program in
Jewish studies.
Faculty, staff and members of the
broader Jewish community were on hand
at the official launch reception at Wayne
State on Sept. 23 to celebrate the new
interdisciplinary program and discuss
what it means for the Detroit -based uni-
Guest speaker Sara Horowitz, director
of the Centre for Jewish Studies at York
University in Toronto and president of
the Association for Jewish Studies, spoke
at the reception and applauded Wayne
State's new endeavor.
Horowitz described many benefits
of establishing a Jewish studies cur-
riculum; but above all, she hailed the
program's abilities to break stereotypes
and foster a greater understanding of
Jewish culture.
The idea of the new Jewish studies

program flourished when a group of fac-
ulty and staff inquired about it. A com-
mittee soon was formed and members
began to review Jewish services offered
at Wayne State.
The group quickly realized that the
Jewish commu-
nity already had a
vibrant presence on

Robert Thomas, dean of WSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, addresses a
crowd at the Jewish Studies minor launch reception.

has linked the university to the Jewish
community through a spectrum of pro-
grams and activities.
From biennial international confer-
ences to smaller symposia, lectures and
broadly defined cultural events, the
center has hosted
some of the world's
most distinguished
academics, writers,
poets, artists and
Many Jewish
"The combined
They saw collections
efforts of the Cohn-
such as the Jewish
Haddow Center
community archives
and Wayne State
housed in the Walter
University's thriv-
P. Reuther Library;
ing Jewish commu-
services like Hillel
nity have created
of Metro Detroit,
the momentum
Wayne State's active
- WSU President Jay Noren and interest nec-
Jewish student orga-
essary for the
nization; the Wayne
establishment of
State University Press, which already
a Jewish Studies minor:' said Eugene
offered a substantial Jewish studies cata-
Driker, chairman of the WSU board of
log; and, in particular, they recognized
the efforts of Wayne State's Cohn-Haddow
"This new program will undoubtedly
Center for Judaic Studies.
foster a greater appreciation for Jewish
For more than 20 years, Cohn-Haddow art, music and theater throughout the

"The establishment of
this [Jewish studies]
minor is just the begin-
ning ... We all look for-
ward to its continued

The program, offered through the
university's College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences, requires students to fulfill 18
credit hours chosen from a collection of
The curriculum ranges from elemen-
tary Hebrew to courses in the political
Also available is an international study
abroad program that gives students
the opportunity to see firsthand sev-
eral of the most important sites of the
"The establishment of this minor is
just the beginning:' said WSU President
Jay Noren.
"Much of this program was made pos-
sible by contributions to Wayne State
from the Jewish community.
"We all look forward to its continued
Marc Kruman, chair of the
Department of History in the College
of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said, "We
eventually plan to expand this minor
into a Jewish studies major.
"With the continued help of the corn-
munity, we will reach that goal!" ❑

October 2 • 2008


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